District of Virginia
Communist Party USA
“Twilight shines in brilliant splendor,
The mighty eagle spreads its wings and soars.
The springtime plateau radiates in beauty,
Moving me in songs of praise.”
Serfs, Arisen, Sing in Praise
The following report, drafted by the District Secretary, edited and approved by the Executive Committee of the Virginia District of the Communist Party USA, is the first in what shall be a recurring quarterly series of reports regarding the development of the Communist Party in Virginia. As a quarterly series, reports shall be denoted WINTER-SPRING (March), SPRING-SUMMER (June), SUMMER-FALL (September), and FALL-WINTER (December).
The purpose for these reports shall be to report to the District and all interested onlookers on the activities of the Virginia District of the Communist Party, as well as the Executive’s recommendations and analyses of matters of specific interest to the clubs and collectives of the Communist Party within the District of Virginia. As a primarily advisory body, these recommendations and analyses should not be considered authoritative commands on behalf of the Executive, but rather the result of long deliberation and intentional consideration by the members thereof. Such recommendations are to be viewed as such, for the purpose of guiding, rather than dictating, the further development of club and collective programs.
The crisis of the COVID-19 virus took the United States by storm. Last year was an especially desperate, depressing, and oftentimes downright deadly time to be a worker in the United States. The virus did not arrive at our shores by surprise, but the bourgeois crooks representing both Republican and Democratic parties utilized it as an opportunity to stoke anti-Chinese and anti-Communist sentiment while filling the pockets of themselves and their owners. We remember with solidarity the nearly-six-hundred-thousand innocent Americans who have died as a result of this outright betrayal by our Government, and the millions more who were affected in various other ways; long-term health consequences for those who caught it and lived, economic damage to the working class, and so on. This pandemic has for all times thrown off the mask of decency the ruling elites of this country have so long cowered behind; their contempt and hatred for the working class has been made clear for all to see.
Within the District of Virginia, the pandemic required that certain operations be reconsidered. Rather than the traditional in-person method by which prospective Party members would be interviewed, teleconferencing was introduced. This, while an inconvenience at first, has meant the saving of resources otherwise allocated to travel expenses, which have now been redistributed to other initiatives. Likewise, this move coincided with a historic flood of new Party applications. The District of Virginia, we are proud to announce, has grown by some 500% in the past year, with more applications arriving almost daily. Never before in the history of our Party, or this nation in general, has the working class of Virginia so strongly embraced the Communist Party as it has begun to now. This is a great cause for celebration, but we should not rest on our laurels; there is much work to be done.
The District, long under-staffed and under-represented, has been quick to put its new Comrades to work. The Tidewater Solidarity Club was launched earlier this year, as well as initiatives to form collectives in the Appalachia and Piedmont regions of the Virginia District; all of which have been met with great success. Comrades of Tidewater, Piedmont, and Northern Virginia in particular were noted and commended for their participation in the Amazon Unionization drive earlier this year. In Appalachia, Comrades drafted and distributed a statement of solidarity with striking machinists from the UAW. Likewise, Comrades from across the District, and Northern Virginia in particular, participated in and supported Black Lives Matter demonstrations across Virginia and DC. Mutual aid projects have likewise been underway specifically in Tidewater, aimed predominantly towards assisting unhoused workers struggling against predatory Temp Agencies.
Ideological work has likewise been an area of special attention for the District Executive, and we are proud to report that great advances have been made on that front as well. With a 20-to-1 vote, the Interim Executive Committee was officially recognized as the First Executive Committee of the District of Virginia of the Communist Party USA. Further formalization and officialization of the Executive Committee, its role, responsibilities, and duties to the District for which it serves are underway, with the primary operational interests being that it conduct itself as a deliberative and mediary body whose purpose is to represent and assist the various clubs and collectives of each subregion of the Virginia District. True to our principle of Democratic Centralism, the Executive Committee shall serve as the united arm of the District, and the voices of our Comrades and fellow workers shall be our guide. To this end, the Executive has carried over two key Committees for its work: the Education Committee, and the Technical Committee.
With regards to the Education Committee, work is still very much in its early stages. The Committee has overseen and directed study groups for both new and experienced Comrades wishing to expand their knowledge of foundational Marxist-Leninist theory and practice, as well as more advanced and contemporary work, to great effect. Works touched upon in these study groups have included Capital, Principles of Communism, select readings from Audre Lorde, and Franz Fanon, speeches from James Connolly and Deng Xiaoping, and much more. A particular emphasis has been placed on studying foundational work alongside more contemporary authors in order to better connect the struggles of such foundation revolutionaries as Marx, Lenin, Mao, etc., to our modern conditions.
With regards to the Technical Committee, it has been tasked with the overseeing, managing, and facilitating of all technical and communications work necessary for the District. Among initiatives undertaken by the Technical Committee have been the establishment of the Virginia District’s own website, the revival of the r/CPUSA subreddit and establishment of our presence on other social media platforms – Twitter, Instagram, etc. – and the coordination of these things for the benefit of the working class in general and Communist Party in specific.
The Executive Committee is very confident with the current stage of development; the Party as a whole is experiencing great strides in all areas of work, and all indicators show that things will continue on this path well into this year. Whether this carries forward into 2022 is yet to be seen, and will rely largely on what we do between now and then to ensure it. There are many great obstacles, but we have never been better equipped, or more optimistic, to face them. If current growth trends continue at their current rate, within the next quarter new clubs are expected to be officially formed in the subregions of Appalachia, Northern Virginia, and Piedmont, with a collective being formed in Shenandoah between next quarter and the quarter after (December, 2021). Likewise, this growth in club formations is expected to correspond with a growth in on-campus formations at nearby Colleges and Universities, particularly in Northern Virginia and Piedmont, where work has already entered early stages and appears to be exceeding initial expectations. The Tidewater Solidarity Club has reported, also, that it will likely be changing its name in the coming quarter.
As pandemic restrictions are being lifted, it is expected that utilization of teleconferencing will be maintained in order to streamline processes and better facilitate meetings of large geographic areas wherein face-to-face meetings are impractical. However, this does mean that our work shall be, or should be, internet-based. All Comrades with the ability are encouraged to schedule and receive vaccinations as soon as possible, and begin, if they haven’t already, planning local actions within their communities and subregions. We must be prepared, on the level of localities and collectives as well as as a District, to “hit the ground running” as soon as it’s safe to do so. In some areas, this moment will come sooner, as evidenced by the fact that some Comrades have already begun carrying out direct actions. We commend them for their spirit and commitment to the working class.
Within the next quarter, the Executive Committee plans to put forward for the consideration of the general membership of the District its proposed official procedures and guidelines for operation; this will clearly lay out, in black and white, the specific things which the Executive shall and shall not be permitted and expected to do on behalf of the District. Chief among the considerations being made in this respect is the desire for the Executive to serve as the body by which the unity of action as prescribed under Democratic Centralism is facilitated, while also ensuring that it does not in any way infringe upon the diversity of thought within the Party. Likewise, it is expected that the membership of the Executive will be changing somewhat in the coming quarter as some members leave to serve the Party elsewhere. To these Comrades we wish safe travels, and hope that they will write to us often regarding developments in their new homes and areas of work.
With regards to the Education Committee, ongoing study sessions are expected to continue. Under new and more formalized leadership, the Executive has high expectations for the coming quarter. The stated purpose for this Committee is to bring together Comrades, regardless of their level of prior knowledge, and assist them in their growth as Communists. For some, this will simply mean an ongoing study of specific areas of theory. For others, however, this will entail the full “start-to-finish” education from a fellow traveler to what Lenin called a professional revolutionary. To this end, the Committee is continuing work and is expected to have several programs prepared by the end of the next quarter for this kind of formalized education.
With regards to the Technical Committee, initiatives have largely shifted from expansion to management, and are expected to continue in this regard into the next quarter. With the addition of the District’s website and new social media projects, it is expected that the majority of the Committee’s work in the coming quarter will be geared towards refining these platforms and utilizing them to disseminate Party information and matters relevant to Virginia workers and the Communist Party. A special emphasis has been placed on article-writing for the Party, International Department, and District website; the project has been thus-far successful, and is expected to see further growth in the coming quarter.
One of the primary functions of the Executive is to deliberate and “weigh in” on matters of a contentious nature within the District. These recommendations are the result of thorough and thoughtful discussion among the Executive representatives from each of the affected subregions, and are meant as a guiding light for the consideration of clubs and collectives.
Many contentious debates have been had at all levels regarding the nature of coalition-building. Let us begin with our starting point. As Communists, we are materialists. What this means is that we must look at the material conditions of different areas and situations in time, and assess them based on their merits. We must seek truth from facts, and always go where those facts lead us, regardless of whether or not we particularly like them. To this end, with regards to coalition building, there are two viewpoints which have increasingly come into conflict: those who believe that coalition building is the primary way for our Party to build a working class “front” within American politics, and those who believe that any time spent affiliating or attempting to appeal to non-Marxist organizations is a waste of time and resources.
The Executive Committee here encourages Comrades to abandon idealistic sentimentality and look at the issue squarely from a materialist, facts first, perspective. As conditions vary in time and place, so too must our Comrades’ position on this specific issue. There are some, no doubt, who will seek opportunistically to undermine the working class through such means, by “sapping” resources and morale through overtures that ultimately bear no fruit. These, of course, should be avoided at all times. However, there are indeed some times and places wherein these movements can be quite beneficial, and a united working class coalition may make great strides in the lifting up of a community in need. Rather than speaking on the issue in generalities, the Executive stresses the need for principled pragmatism. We must analyze these situations on their merits, seek truth from facts, and then weigh these truths against the “red-line” of our principles. Lenin himself highlighted that Marxists are not opposed to electoralism or “incremental change” so long as it is for the immediate benefit of the working class, and strengthens the workers’ political position.
If, in this way, it becomes apparent that an attempt at coalition-building is not conducive to helping communities and raising up workers, then the attempt should be abandoned without a second thought; lip-service does not feed hungry families, does not warm the unhoused, and does not help communities.
If, in this way, it becomes apparent that an attempt at coalition-building is conducive to helping communities and raising up workers, then it should be continued, and raised up with even more vigor, without a moment’s hesitation; genuine and fruitful action for the betterment of the working class is our sole aim.
To this end, the whole business of coalition-building is something which will need careful consideration and thought, and must be looked at on a case-by-case basis for each club and collective. Mutual cooperation is best, one-sided cooperation, wherein it is the side of the workers that benefits most, is most optimal; one-sided cooperation, wherein the working class gains nothing, is a hindrance.
In actionable terms, it is most strongly recommended that the matter of coalition-building with specific entities in specific locations be taken up by the whole body of the club or collective, and that a specific liaison be assigned to work to this end and deliver timely reports to the body regarding the effectiveness of their work. Then, once enough time has elapsed, an analysis of the conduciveness of that initiative may be undertaken, and the above measures may be taken as necessary. It is likewise recommended that at no time any club or collective commit manpower or resources to such undertakings unless such an analysis has been undertaken and deemed conducive.